Adreana Gonzalez said music education does not have to be “traditional” to be relevant.
To share this, the Pasadena-born entertainer founded Hollywood Vocal Studios Conservatory in Downtown LA. The two-year contemporary vocal institution is seeking to bridge a gap in modern music education for aspiring vocalists through mentorship from music industry professionals.
The school is in the historic Garland Building in Downtown LA, and auditions for the school will remain open until October for admission in February. For information, visit hvsconservatory.com. The school is an extension of Hollywood Vocal Studios.
“I had the idea to start the conservatory because I’ve been a private vocal coach for over 15 years,” Gonzalez said. “I have many students who come from Berklee College of Music or Musicians Institute and their vocal program is subpar.”
She said there are talented people who come out of well-known music institutions, but the leading schools still manage to fall short in terms of their vocal program.
“It really is about the training of the voice,” Gonzalez said. “Not only are we going to teach you the basics, like music theory and stage presence, but we are going to teach you how to hone the most impeccable and immaculate instrument that you possibly can, which is your voice.”
The conservatory teaches students how to thrive as a professional vocalist specializing in various genres, like pop, R&B, indie-rock and pop country.
“In a few years, I would like to branch out into musical theater because that’s my expertise, but for now we are focusing on contemporary music,” she said.
“There are so many genres that are crossovers and hybrids of each other, but what we’re really looking for is amazing talent so that we can bring out their best style and sound.”
Gonzalez is passionate about her career and helping aspiring young vocalists. She said entertainers come to Los Angeles to try to start their music career but leave before the 10-year mark because they’re struggling.
“There is so much talent out there that needs to be seen, and it needs to be seen by the right people in order to create a success,” she said. “I wanted to help streamline that process, and I love working with talented individuals and helping them shine.”
Gonzalez, who has worked as a professional vocalist for over 15 years, is supported by five faculty members and two masterclass hosts. The faculty includes voice director Jeffrey Skouson, who works with Imagine Dragons and the Killers regularly, and performance director Ron Harris, an A&R representative who helped shape the careers of Fergie and Christina Aguilera.
Gonzalez said the school’s curriculum will help build aspiring vocalists by teaching methods like Speech Level Singing and the Institute for Vocal Advancement method, which is led by Skouson.
According to Gonzalez, Speech Level Singing and Institute for Vocal Advancement are world-renowned techniques but are not taught at music schools. These techniques, which are otherwise taught through private lessons from vocal coaches, manipulate the muscles in way to blend the different pitches from your chest and head without a difference in quality.
Moreover, HVSC will teach students ways to navigate the music industry and their career through classes like brand awareness and a wellness class that will center around a healthy lifestyle and vocal longevity.
Gonzalez said she will accept 20 to 30 students but plans on expanding to closer to 100 to 120 students.
“The reason that I want HVSC to be an exclusive program and why we’re starting off so small is because I only want to take on the best of the best,” she said. “I want to be able to give these talented individuals everything that they need and all the attention they might need so they can be as successful as the can possibly be.”
With small classrooms, personalized attention, training and lessons, students can develop their skills at HSVC in two years. Otherwise, it might take 10 years of experience without this program.
“I really believe that you can do anything that you put your mind to, but you can’t give up,” Gonzalez said. “Even if your friends and family tell you that it’s not the career for you, if it’s what you want and it’s a desire in the deepest part of your heart and soul, you just have to do it.”